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Old 12-10-2012, 01:13 PM   #1
rcpratt
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Default Basic Audio Question, Incl. PS3/Soundbar

The PS3 is able to, at least per this, encode DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD. I stream most of my content through my PS3, and it often has DTS or TrueHD available. Up to this point, I haven't paid much attention to this, as my audio system consists of my TV speakers.

The change: I'm looking to buy a soundbar, probably in the $500-$1000 range. Looking at this Polk and this Klipsch at the moment...although the model isn't particularly critical at this point. What is critical is that I seem to be priced out of sound bars that can encode DTS/TrueHD...they seem to be in the $1000+ range. The Polk SurroundBar 9000 looks really interesting, but it's not available yet, and the delay worries me a bit.

The question: Is there a configuration, with these sound bars or any others that do not encode DTS/TrueHD, with which I could somehow pass the encoded DTS/TrueHD content through from my PS3 to a sound bar?

Some sound bars come with HDMI, but the two I am looking at don't. The obvious solution, at least to me and my limited knowledge, is to connect the PS3 and cable box to the TV via HDMI, and then pass the audio through to the sound bar via...optical? Again my audio knowledge is essentially zero, but I assume that optical is just as good as HDMI in passing through audio...otherwise high-end sound bars would have HDMI.

Before this comes up, I'm aware that a sound bar is not a replacement for a 5.1/7.1 system, etc. This would be for a more minimalistic bedroom TV setup.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
Atomic Playboy
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A better question is whether it is really important to have a soundbar that decodes (not encodes) DTS/TrueHD when the PS3 can already decode those and send a LPCM signal which everything can process. Why is it important for the decoding to be done by the soundbar rather than the PS3?

That said, you can set up the PS3 to do bitstreaming of DTS/TrueHD over optical, so if you wanted to pass the decoding off to a soundbar/receiver, that is how you would do it. I just don't know why you would. Is the soundbar going to have a better decoder than the PS3 (I legitimately don't know the answer to that question)?
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Atomic Playboy View Post
A better question is whether it is really important to have a soundbar that decodes (not encodes) DTS/TrueHD when the PS3 can already decode those and send a LPCM signal which everything can process. Why is it important for the decoding to be done by the soundbar rather than the PS3?

That said, you can set up the PS3 to do bitstreaming of DTS/TrueHD over optical, so if you wanted to pass the decoding off to a soundbar/receiver, that is how you would do it. I just don't know why you would. Is the soundbar going to have a better decoder than the PS3 (I legitimately don't know the answer to that question)?
It's not, of course. What is important to me is that the encoding decoding occur somewhere. Sorry for the sloppy use of technical terms...my audio knowledge is, as I said, extremely limited.

Let me boil down the question to something that should be easier to deal with - if I were to buy a sound bar that does not have HDMI in/out, is there any way to pass decoded DTS/TrueHD from the PS3 to, eventually, the sound bar? I.e., can LPCM be passed through some other medium, since the bars I'm looking at don't have HDMI?

Last edited by rcpratt; 12-10-2012 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
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yes it should have an opticial input
the soundbar my parents have has 2 opticial inputs and 0 HDMI imputs
i beleive it also has some RCA inputs as well
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:19 PM   #5
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Everything I've read says that the PS3 will only output lossy formats via optical, so LPCM will only output 2.0 channel audio, TrueHD will be downgraded to Dolby Digital and DTS-MA will be downgraded to DTS. Not sure if that information is actually accurate, but it appears that you won't be able to bitstream the actual TrueHD or DTS-MA stream over optical regardless; it requires an HDMI connection for that. I wonder if that's part of the HDCP compliance that Sony requires.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic Playboy View Post
Everything I've read says that the PS3 will only output lossy formats via optical, so LPCM will only output 2.0 channel audio, TrueHD will be downgraded to Dolby Digital and DTS-MA will be downgraded to DTS. Not sure if that information is actually accurate, but it appears that you won't be able to bitstream the actual TrueHD or DTS-MA stream over optical regardless; it requires an HDMI connection for that. I wonder if that's part of the HDCP compliance that Sony requires.
Thanks.

I guess I'm going with something like this. Don't love it aesthetically, but oh well.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rcpratt View Post
Thanks.

I guess I'm going with something like this. Don't love it aesthetically, but oh well.
That should definitely do you well (although the idea that sound coming from a 3 foot bar in front of you can faithfully recreate a 7.1 surround sound system strikes me as complete marketing balderdash). I agree on the aesthetics, but I've always been of the frame of mind that how something performs is significantly more important than how it looks, and that looks like it will perform well.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Atomic Playboy View Post
That should definitely do you well (although the idea that sound coming from a 3 foot bar in front of you can faithfully recreate a 7.1 surround sound system strikes me as complete marketing balderdash). I agree on the aesthetics, but I've always been of the frame of mind that how something performs is significantly more important than how it looks, and that looks like it will perform well.
I don't really buy into the surround recreation that a lot of these bars have, either. But I definitely agree on the performance over aesthetics.

Apparently the receiver/sub is a serious issue with the SO, though, considering this is in the bedroom. A cable box and PS3 is fine...this isn't?

Meh. Don't know what I'm doing now. This was going to be my xmas gift...who knows.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:29 PM   #9
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Yeah, I don't know if I'd even worry about HD sound encodes while listening to a sound bar as well. Kind of need a real system before the difference between standard Dolby Digital and the HD lossless encodes becomes noticeable.
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